Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices | Book 1
Pages: 720 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (March 8, 2016)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

 

GoodReads Synopsis

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

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Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

aspiritedmind.com

aspiritedmind.com

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: N/A
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper; Reissue edition (March 29, 2011)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie describes an enthralling murder mystery on the Orient Express.

GoodReads Synopsis

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

As usual, Belgium detective Hercule Poirot must solve the mystery of who the murderer is. But as he begins investigating, every new fact he learns complicates everything he already knows about the mystery. Can Poirot find the killer before they escape?

Warning: This review contains spoilers!

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Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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barnesandnoble.com

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Pages: 181 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 3, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman weaves a psychological thriller about an ‘ocean’ at the end of a lane where a man (unnamed deliberately by the author) lived as a young boy.

GoodReads Synopsis

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Despite it’s relatively thin length for a novel (181 pages), The Ocean at the End of the Lane compacts a lot of meaning into those pages. And it left me still thinking after I’d finished it with the thought-provoking plotline. The author, Neil Gaiman, did a good job holding my interest through every page and generating intrigue.

A unique twist on the classic good vs. evil story with an adult tone to it, The Ocean at the End of the Lane took a little time to set up before fully launching into the story. I think what made this book fascinating was the surprise ending, and–highlight for spoiler– (the horridness of one Ursula Monkton), and how the author described memory and trauma.

One aspect of the novel that I found to be an interesting choice on the author’s part was the deliberate decision to keep the man (the main character) namelesss throughout the novel. In a way, I thought that it made sense.

Although the novel’s synopsis did not  intrigue me, I decided to give it a try and I’m glad that I did. Once you begin to read the book, it grips you and does not let you go until you finish. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel from the excellent writing, plot development, and character development.

I’d recommend this book to people who’ve read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s other novel Coraline or are looking for a good horror-psychological-suspense novel.

Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

alicemarvels.com

alicemarvels.com

TitleOrigin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Series: N/A
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Razorbill; Reprint edition (September 17, 2013)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, Origin by Jessica Khoury, draws you into the world of Little Cam.

Little Cam (short for Little Cambridge) is a secretive research center in the Amazon Rainforest. The scientists of Little Cam’s goal: to create a race of immortal humans. Their first success is Pia, an immortal girl with flawless memory and impenetrable skin.

One day, Pia’s Uncle Paolo says, Pia will take over as head of the Immortis Team. But to do this, Pia must succeed in a series of calculating tests: the Wickham Tests. In one of the tests, Pia must watch a bird get electrocuted over and over. She begins to secretly question the scientists’ means. However, Uncle Paolo insists, “the end always justifies the mean.”

All her life, Pia has stayed within the gates of Little Cam. The gates and fence are charged with electricity and almost always closed. After her seventeenth birthday party, Pia discovers a gap in the fence. With her pet jaguar, Alai, she ventures into the forest. In the jungle, Pia discovers a world she never dreamed of.

But as Pia becomes attached to the world beyond Little Cam, she finds herself in a dilemma. Eventually, she must make a choice between freedom and a dream of creating immortals. As Pia learns more and more about Little Cam’s hidden secrets, she learns about herself and most importantly, what the Little Cam scientists did to make her. Whose dreams is she choosing?

I really, really enjoyed this book. It kept me reading non-stop from page one. Also, the development of Pia’s character is well done. By the end of the book Pia had evolved completely and both grown and matured as a character. Furthermore, the author had two very important themes in her novel. The first was that end does not always justify the mean. Find out whose dream you are living for, the second theme, was subtle compared to the first one. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science-fiction books on immortality and scientists who cross the boundary between inhumanity and ambitions.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

booklust-lisa.blogspot.com

booklust-lisa.blogspot.com

Title: Unbroken
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Series: N/A
Pages: 528
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The biography, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand describes the life of Olympics runner and World War II POW Louis Zamperini.

In his childhood, Zamperini was a locally notorious boy with cunning mind. He’d break into people’s houses (to steal something edible) or set up a prank contraption.

Determined to find a way to channel Louis’s wildness, Pete Zamperini (his older brother) attempted to interest him in track. Initially the attempt failed, but eventually Louis gained interest and he began to break records.

But when Pearl Harbor was bombed and America entered into World War II, Louis became an Army Air Corps bombardier. After narrowly surviving combat missions from the Hawaii base, Zamperini and two fellow Air Corps men, crashed in the Pacific Ocean and set a record for longest record at sea.

Eventually as they drifted east, the Japanese captured Louis and his crew. Following his capture, Louis was sent to various POW camps where several cruel POW camp officials and guards abused them. One official, known as the Bird, was exceptionally fixated upon abusing Louis.

Will Louis be able to survive and recover the physical and emotional torments of the Japanese POW camps?

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

literarycatastrophe.wordpress.com

literarycatastrophe.wordpress.com

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 4
Pages: 656
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The fourth Throne of Glass novel, Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas continues Celaena Sardothien’s journey as Aelin Galathynius, the heir of Terrasen.

SPOILER ALERT – PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU’VE NOT READ: The Assassin’s BladeThrone of GlassCrown of Midnight, or Heir of Fire.

Celaena Sardothien has returned to Erilea for many things. But she has come changed. In Wendlyn, Celaena let go of the fears of her past that constantly haunted her and embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius: heir of Terrasen. She wants to, needs to, rescue her fallen kingdom, save her cousin, and save Dorian.

But first she must face her former master, Arobbyn Hamel, king of the Assassins. When he rescued Aelin as a child, he also unknowingly took the third wyrdkey from her. Aelin must take back the wyrdkey to save Erilea, but dealing with the cunning Arobbyn will be far from easy.

Following his sacrifice so that Chaol might escape, Dorian is fighting an internal battle with an ancient evil locked within him with a wyrdstone collar.

After being named Wing Leader, Manon and her Thirteen have been sent to Morath to work with the disagreeable Duke Perrington. But the duke is keeping secrets and something sinister is going on inside the mountain and Manon is determined to find out what it is.

Negotiating with Arobbyn Hamel for support and the wyrdkey will be far from simple for Aelin. If she is to succeed in her plan though, she’ll have to accomplish many other things before she’s done, if she ever will be.

Can Aelin save the people she loves while playing a dangerous game of power?

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Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire by Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Worldwalkers Trilogy | Book 1
Pages: 400
Publisher: Square Fish (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The first novel of the Worldwalkers trilogy, Trial by Fire, by Josephine Angelini, tells the story of a girl named Lily Proctor with life threatening allergies.

After a humiliating incident at her first party, Lily Proctor begins to hear a voice in her head. Her voice, to be exact, but it isn’t quite her voice. The voice sounds exactly like hers’, except she knows that those words inside her mind are not of her own.

You are sick in this world. Come to me and be the most powerful person in the world. The voice urges Lily.

Lily refuses though and the voice fades away into silence. But after Lily has a terrible argument with her best friend, Tristan, the voice asks again: Are you ready to go now? This time Lily replies, “Yes. I’m done here.

It will be terrifying. It was for me. The voice tells Lily. In a matter of seconds, Lily finds herself in a different Salem, Massachusetts.

In this parallel world, Lily is a witch who rules Salem. And what makes her weak in her home universe, her allergies, makes her a powerful witch here. Her counterpart, Lillian, summoned her to this world. Before Lillian can use Lily though, Lily runs and is captured by rebels. The rebels make a deal with her: if she can save them from Lillian, then they will help her go home.

But “How can she be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?”

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

reinodemismediasverdades.blogspot.com

reinodemismediasverdades.blogspot.com

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 3
Pages: 592
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The third novel of the Throne of Glass series, Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas describes assassin Celaena Sardothien’s journey in Wendlyn with the Fae.

CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT if you’ve not read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, or The Assassin’s Blade.

After Chaol–the Captain of the Guard–sells his freedom to give Celaena safety in the continent across the ocean, she aimlessly roams the streets of Varese–Wendlyn’s capital–with a half-forgotten mission: assassinate the royal family of Wendlyn. But Celaena has other ideas. She needs to find out more about the mysterious wyrdkeys–the king of Adarlan’s source of power.

And there’s only one person, or rather Fae, on Wendlyn who can give her answers: Maeve, Queen of the Fae who is also her dreaded aunt. While she’s lounging on the rooftops, one of Maeve’s elite Fae warrior, Rowan, appears with orders to bring her to Maeve. However, nothing comes without a price. To receive answers about the wyrdkeys from Maeve, Celaena must complete training under the instruction of the apathetic Rowan.

As part of her training, Celaena must learn to master her fire magic. But her former master, Arobbyn Hamel, always taught her to fear her magic. Can Celaena conquer her fear?

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

jeriwb.com

jeriwb.com

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series | Book 1
Pages: 382
Publisher: Quirk Books; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, blends black-and-white photographs with a haunting dark fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman lives a relatively ordinary life. But when his senile grandfather, Abraham Portman, calls him frantically for help and raves madly about someone coming to find him, his mundane life is shattered. At the sight of his grandfather’s murder, he beholds a terrifying monster, but even more terrifying: only he can see it.

Seeking answers, Jacob convinces his parents to let him travel to a Welsh island with an abandoned orphanage that might hold the keys to his grandfather’s past and his future.

When Jacob visits the orphanage, which was destroyed by a World War II bomb, he encounters a girl who can hold flames and an invisible boy. Through them, he is drawn into the world of the Peculiars: a group of people with Peculiar abilities who can never age as long as they’re in their time loop.

But there are wonders and dangers in the Peculiar world. Tentacled creatures called hollowgast prey on Peculiars when they can and the wights–hollowgasts who’ve preyed on enough Peculiars to regain a semblance of human life–are planning something new.

Can Jacob embrace his own powers while protecting his newfound Peculiar friends?

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Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

apageofheaven.wordpress.com

apageofheaven.wordpress.com

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series | Book 2
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 2, 2014)
Rating: 4.5 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The book, Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas continues the sage of assassin Celaena Sardothien.

SPOILER ALERT! Proceed with caution if you’ve not read Throne of Glass and plan to.

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